Nanoparticles: "The future of conventional medicine"
Dr. Xavier Cattoan, chemist and researcher specializing in the creation of nanoparticles for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, recounted part of his work, the importance of advances in the use of nanotechnology and how it could modify and replace current chronic disease treatments.
Within the framework of the theoretical-practical school NanoAndes, held between October 21 and 26 in Chile and which functions as a theoretical-practical school focused on nanosciences and nanomedicine, French chemist Dr. Xavier Cattoan revealed the key points of the development of nanotechnology research, specifically silicon oxide, to be used, in the future, for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.
For Xavier Catton, his work as a specialist in nanotechnology aims to expand the possibilities of the medical field and create effective solutions to cure diseases that are very difficult to treat as, for example, the different types of cancer that are 23% of deaths in Chile each year.
As a chemist, its mission is to create nanomaterials to try to cure different types of chronic diseases that permanently harm people's health and are treated by drugs that produce harmful health effects and serious side effects that put in place risk of prolonging patients' lives.
As the recounts, Dr.. Catton, "it is very important to develop new technologies by using nanoparticles that can safely discharge or release medicines directly to the site", as is the case with silica particles.
What is the future of this kind of research?
The chemical's hopes in his hard and important work are high, while remarking that "there are things that are going to work", there are still barriers to the implementation of technology in humans because "getting the particles to circulate in a controlled and time-free manner in the bloodstream, it is complex because these nanoparticles are unknown to the immune system and go to the liver directly".
Another of the difficulties he has faced, has to do with getting the nanoparticles to stay in the bloodstream for long periods and, at the same time, find the most efficient way to excrete them from the body without causing negative consequences on people.
He said, These "are two of the great challenges, along with achieving something that is effective in the human body because, for now, only work well in animals". Adding that in the few experiments that have been conducted with humans, nanoparticles don't work as well as evidenced in animals, due to the complex biology of species.
Will it be possible in the future to use nanoparticles to treat diseases?
For Dr. Cattoen the challenge is more than interesting, because we're talking about diseases that currently have no cure. For this reason, hopes that within 10 years materials can be developed to result in successful therapies that replace current treatments that cause devastating side effects in cancer patients.
"This technology, so it's appreciated in animals, it will help to have many fewer side effects than the drugs being used today and also limit a lot of the doses that are injected".
As a result of the above, doses of drugs dangerous to cells and organs could be lowered and they could also have a local and specific release, directly in cancerous tumors, limiting side effects such as altering the immune system, hair loss, etc.
How to make people's knowledge.
For Xavier, the subject of nanoparticles and chemistry are a little further away from people, unlike biology, that deals with common issues that people relate to in their day-to-day life and are more directly involved.
"Every time you talk about cancer and the side effects, people understand a little bit. But to talk about nano you have to explain well, the size of the nanoparticles compared to the organs, cells, and why it can work and not work...
So that's the hardest part, explain everything sooner than we use as particles".
The importance of international collaboration
During the story, international collaborations have been shown to contribute to an improvement and spread of knowledge across its spectrum. This is the importance of the theoretical practical school NanoAndes.
For Dr. Xavier, experience is motivating because the high level of young researchers in the country gives you hope for future projects.
"It motivates me to come here because, Personally, I love working with South American students. Here at NanoAndes Chile, there are very motivated students, who work hard and have a very good level".
He also emphasized that, despite not having the best research centers, try to do their best and develop innovative top-notch projects.
"I was at NanoAndes in Cali and I just got back from Buenos Aires, Argentina for another school. I'm not going to compare Chile with other countries, because these days the situation has been complicated in the country. However, the organizers have done their best and have done everything to make the school go well. Even this morning we managed to do internships despite the general strike, then very good".
Tips for future nanoparticle researchers
As the Xavier recounts, the most important problem is not to fully understand the physical principles of techniques used to characterize systems.
For the above, Recommended "to work and collaborate with researchers who know these techniques very well in order to better describe their research. There are many people who make particles and try to use them on animals or cells but you can see that they have not understood well the characterizations in the material from the beginning and you have to take care of that".
While, as his particular case, noted that its main mission is "make a better material to fight these diseases and how to improve the composition of the material each time to achieve it. Incorporating organic components into silica is the originality of my research topics. Include many organic functions within those nanoparticles that everyone studies to get to have a new type of nanoparticles".
The future of nanotechnology in Chile
Xavier Cattoen holds faith in the development of science in Chile and confirms the high level of professionals and students who carry out work for the materialization of studies on nanotechnology.
In addition, indicated to be evaluating, with NanoAndes organizers, carry out research projects together, thanks to the excellent level of nano and biotechnologies of Chilean professionals.
"They do very nice things and very good level and it would be very interesting to work with them on this subject", Concluded.